Before the ending of Women's History Month, let us pay tribute to the founder and leader of Church Women United for the Sumter Area, Dr. Agnes Burgess, who in 1972 decided that an organization of this magnitude needed to exist in our community.
Dr. Burgess was the first African American to be named teacher of the year in South Carolina and the first person of color to be elected president of the S.C. Education Association. As a student at Temple University she was selected as a Fulbright scholar to study in France and earned a diploma in French language and civilization from the The Sorbonne. In 1973 she was a delegate to the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1975 she accepted an invitation to teach at USC's College of Education and served as director of the Center for Communiity Education, until her retirement in 1979.
Among numerous other affiliations, Dr. Burgess served as state president of Church Women United.
She was married at an early age to Rev. Thomas English (T. E.) Wilson who passed away only after spending 22 years of marital bliss together; she married Rev. C.C. Burgess when she was 75 years old and he was 78 - that union lasted 10 years, until his death.
Dr. Burgess was born in Chapin, S.C. to Rev. and Mrs. Benjamin Franklin Hildebrand Sr. She passed away on October 6, 2012. Services were held at Mt. Pisgah African American Church in Sumter, and at Williams Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Orangeburg.
We are grateful for the contributions Dr. Burgess made toward strengthening the visibility of our ecumenical community. We must continue the focus by growing in our faith and extending our vision of what it means to be a Christian in society today a tribute to Dr. Agnes Burgess! Love, Hope, and Peace,
Church Women United
of the Greater Sumter Area